Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 2 follow.
Game of Thrones season 7 is in full swing, with a huge sea battle closing out last night’s episode, Stormborn. Among other things, this episode focussed on Daenerys and her plan of attack – and fans think that the plan’s disruption in the episode’s final scenes could be proof that there’s a traitor in her small council.
In those final scenes, Yara Greyjoy was leading the Iron Fleet to Dorne to mobilise the Dornish forces, accompanied by Theon, the Sand Snakes, and Ellaria Greyjoy. Suddenly, Euron Greyjoy appeared out of nowhere to crush their forces and take Yara, Ellaria and Tyene Sand prisoner – killing the other two Sand Snakes in the process and leaving Theon floating among the wreckage. The question is: how did he know they were there? Let’s step back for a second and look at this week’s small council meeting.
What did we learn at the small council meeting?
Olenna Tyrell wasn’t happy in the war room. She was meeting with Daenerys, Yara Greyjoy, and Ellaria Sand, deciding how to use their combined forces. It was decided that Grey Worm would lead the Unsullied army to capture the Lannister stronghold of Casterly Rock, removing a key strategic hold from Cersei Lannister. This idea passed without argument.
However, there was another, more contentious plan in play to do with King’s Landing and Cersei. Yara Greyjoy, Ellaria Sand and Olenna Tyrell were keen to hit King’s Landing hard immediately with everything they had: dragons, a fleet, and Daenerys’ Dothraki. They wanted to oust Cersei and take hold of Westeros straight away.
Tyrion was opposed: thousands would die in the dragon fire if they took this approach. Daenerys then said: “I am not here to be queen of the ashes. We will not attack King’s Landing. We will lay siege to the capital surrounding the city on all sides.” No one looked thrilled by this.
When Daenerys asked if she had everyone’s support, Yara said: “You have mine.” Ellaria said: “Dorne is with you, your Grace.” Olenna did not speak or swear anything: she simply nodded.
Then, before she left, Olenna told Daenerys: “He’s a clever man, your Hand [Tyrion]. I’ve known a great many clever men. I’ve outlived them all. Do you know why? I ignored them. The Lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.”
Why would it make sense for Olenna to betray Daenerys?
As Daenerys noted, Olenna was only there because she hated Cersei – not because she cares about Daenerys. In season 6 Cersei killed everyone in Olenna’s family, and it’s likely that all Olenna wants right now is revenge. Fans on Reddit have suggested that Olenna’s vengeful spirit is so strong that she wants to force Daenerys’ hand into destroying Cersei as soon as possible – so it could make sense to betray the Greyjoys and the Sands, in order to remove option of a lengthy siege and a way for Cersei to escape. Encouraging her to “be a dragon” suggests she is keen for Daenerys not to take the siege approach, but to go into King’s Landing with all dragons blazing.
There are also theories that Olenna has secondary reasons for betraying Dorne and the Greyjoys: she doesn’t want to take her Tyrell army away from the Reach, because she’s aware that the Tarly family could be about to rebel against her. But would it really make sense for her to tip off Euron at the expense of two useful allies in the fight against the Lannisters?
How else could Euron have known where to find Yara and the Sand Snakes?
If not Olenna, there are simpler ways that Euron Greyjoy could have known about Yara’s whereabouts. He’s not an idiot: it’s highly probable he’s had spies in Yara Greyjoy’s fleet ever since she stole the Iron Fleet from him. It was the Greyjoy Fleet that was sailing to Dorne, so a spy could have been made aware of the plans and tipped off Euron.
Alternatively, Euron could simply have been watching Dragonstone for naval movements, knowing that Daenerys had arrived. As fans have noted, Yara’s ships were lit up like a Christmas tree: it wouldn’t have been hard to spot them.
Whatever the case, Euron knew exactly what he was doing and what he hoped to achieve. As we learned last week, Euron was hunting for a ‘precious gift’ for Cersei – we now know this is Ellaria Sand, who killed Cersei’s daughter Myrcella.
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What do you reckon? Did Olenna betray Daenerys, or is Euron just a clever guy?